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Brahma Sutras
by Swami Sivananda


Section 3: Arthantaratvadivyapadesadhikaranam: Topic 12 (Sutra 41)

The Akasa is Brahman.

Akaso'rthantaratvadivyapadesat I.3.41 (104)

Akasa (is Brahman) because it is declared to be something different etc., (from names and forms).

Akasah: Akasa; Arthantaratvadi-vyapadesat: because it is declared to be something different; Artha: with a meaning; Antaratva: differentness. Adi: etc.; Vyapadesat: from statement on account of designation.

Another expression from the Chhandogya Upanishad is now taken up for discussion. We read in Chhandogya Upanishad VIII-14-1 "That which is called Akasa is the revealer of all names and forms. That within which these names and forms are contained is Brahman, the Immortal, the Self."

Here a doubt arises whether that which here is called Akasa is the Highest Brahman or the ordinary elemental ether.

The Purvapakshin or the objector says that Akasa means here the elemental ether, because this is the conventional meaning of the word.

To this the Siddhantin gives the following reply. Here 'Akasa' is Brahman only, because it is designated as a different thing etc. Names and forms are said to be within this Akasa, which is therefore different from these.

The term Akasa signifies Brahman because it is stated to be the source of all names and forms, also because it is qualified by such epithets as 'Infinite, Immortal' 'Self'. The word Akasa, refers to Brahman because the description "beyond name and form" applies only to Brahman.